Today is Remembrance Day. I brought my kids over to the local cenotaph to observe this somber day, like we have done for several years. The ceremony was beautiful, as always, and never fails to evoke a deep sense of pride and patriotism in me, as well as sadness and also a tiny bit of hope.
I have heard and seen protesters at theses ceremonies before. I have listened to some, who say they wouldn’t bring their children to the cenotaph, as it sends a message of a sort of pro-war sentiment. That for some, it glorifies war.
Others though, are much like me. They bring their kids to these ceremonies to reflect and remember. We need to pass this down to our children, without promoting the ideal of war, but rather to practice gratitude for the soldiers who sacrificed so very much.
I like to think of it as a reminder. A reminder that I can wear what I want, pray how I want, live the way I want, and raise my children as equal citizens in a country based on freedom.
And that, at this very moment, someone is fighting over in Afghanistan for this very thing, for people they don’t know. They are fighting for the simple and fundamental rights of women, children and all human beings. To be able to live without fear, and I hope someday, in peace.
I don’t like war. I fucking hate hearing about all the mess-ups with Iraq, about Canadians being blown up in Kandahar. Yeah, I’m anti-war. But I am also pro-freedom. It really sucks that sometimes war happens. It would be so wonderful to live in a world where peace is normal. But the human race, with all its glory and beauty is also a race of nasty savagery. Who am I to say that the fighting should not happen? Who will fight for those children’s future? If we choose to adhere to never being engaged in conflict, then what would happen to the countless people succumbing to dictatorships, militia and religious fundamentalists? When you fear for your life and the lives of your children, would you not appreciate the efforts of someone coming to your aid and fighting for you?
Yet, I still wish that the world could change. I live each day with gratitude, and I try to extend kindness as much as I can. I raise my children to be aware and empathetic. If everyone would choose to just “live and let live”, and apply simple kindness in every day life, indeed this place would be entirely different.
Until this happens, I will always Remember.